The water from your tap might look cloudy and you could get white stripes on your dishes. What is going on? You have hard water. This means that your water contains a lot of calcium. This is generally not a problem but it can make it hard to keep your faucets, pipes, appliances, water heater, and dishes clean. In some instances, it can clog your pipes as well. How can this be fixed?
What is soft water and hard water
Soft water is water that doesn’t contain a lot of calcium. Calcium is a natural mineral that is present in water. It is can be used to write on blackboards or on the street. Hard water contains more calcium. It is possible to use a water softener to change it from hard to soft water. This is also called softening of water. This has some advantages: there is no calcium in your drains so it won’t get clogged over time, it is easier to clean and maintain your faucets and your dishes look nicer.
Soft water is generally safe to drink but it depends on the type of water softener that you use.
Some areas have more calcium in the water than others. There are local differences and it is best to reach out to your local water provider to see what they recommend. Some water suppliers remove the calcium for you whereas others don’t.
You can also order a water test and test the water to see how much calcium it has. If you want to get more precise data, you can hire a lab to test the water and see what you have to do to get clearer water.
Water is used for a lot of things, from cooking, cleaning to drinking. For this reason, investing in a water softener can be a great idea as this removes the calcium from the water. This can cost several thousands of dollars though so it is a big investment. A lot of people are going for it given the advantages that such a system has. Once it is installed, it is generally not that expensive to maintain. It can be worth it given that your appliances will last longer if you have a water softener installed.
What is a water softener and how do they work? How to make hard water soft
A water softener can remove calcium from your water by using salt. These products will filter or break down the calcium and make the water much softer. This can be used for city and well water. It is commonly used in combination with filters. These systems are not allowed everywhere as it takes more work to process the wastewater.
Water softeners remove hardness from water by passing it through a series of resin-coated beds. Water hardness is caused by the presence of minerals such as calcium and magnesium in water. It can make your water feel hard and cause problems like scaling in your pipes, foul odors, and a lack of a clean, fresh supply of water.
Water softeners pass a very small amount of water through a resin bed. The resin
Water softeners are often confused with reverse osmosis systems. Reverse osmosis systems remove all water impurities. Water softeners use a resin to remove hardness, while RBOCs remove only the minerals that cause hardness.
How does a water softener work?
Water softeners use resin and minerals to absorb water hardness. The resin is mainly made from polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), a polyol derived from ethanol. PVA has a very high ability to absorb and adsorb minerals like calcium and magnesium. After the resin has absorbed these minerals, it passes the resulting ions through an ion exchange membrane. Ions are the parts of a substance that cause it to have a charge. So, when the ions from hardness are exchanged for sodium, the resin doesn’t have a charge and can no longer absorb the next mineral, which is usually sodium as well. Salt is used to recharge the resin. This leaves some salt in the water once it has passed through the water softener.
Salt has to be added regularly and this is the main maintenance that needs. People often buy big bags of salt so that they have some reserves. This can take up quite some space to store it.
How do you determine if a water softener is right for you?
Many people wonder if they should buy a water softener. There are a few factors to consider. How many people live in your house? What are their water needs? Knowing these things will help you determine if a softener is right for you.
Water softeners are designed to reduce the number of minerals in the water. If you live in an area where the water source has very little minerals, you may never need one.
If you have a large family, a lot of dishes, or a lot of showers, you may need a water softener. Check your water bill to see if you’re using a lot of water.
Water conditioning system: salt-free or saltless water softener
Water conditioners are an option in these locations. These systems keep the calcium in the water but make it less powerful. They work with magnets, electricity, or chemical products. They need almost no maintenance. This system provides worse results than a water softener as the calcium is not completely removed. Water conditioners also don’t work for well water so they shouldn’t be used for this.
Hole house water conditioning systems
There are many water softeners on the market. You should choose one that is the best for your specific needs. Some factors to consider include the hardness of your water, the type of water you want to soften, and the amount of calcium you want to remove. Each system has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.
Water softeners that use salt are the most popular as they are easy to maintain. You just have to add salt and let the appliance clean itself. In some instances, you have to add a cleaning product as well. Check the manual of your device to be sure. These water softeners have proven their reliability and a lot of big brands offer them. Given that they are removing the calcium, you can often use less soap to clean things in your home.
The drawback is that salt can be heavy to move and that you need electricity to keep this system going. They also use quite a lot of water and it might not be drinkable. In some cities (mainly in CA), they are not allowed so check before you get one!
There are also water conditioners that use filters. These have to be removed from time to time. You don’t have to carry heavy bags of salt around or use electricity. It can be more work as you have to check the filter from time to time. These systems are easy to install and work pretty well. The drawback is that you often have to buy the filter from the brand and this can be quite expensive.
There is a lot of discussion about how effective water conditioners are that use magnets. They are a lot cheaper to install but some brands are not that qualitative. You have to check which ones you are getting and if they will work for your situation.
Other water conditioners use chemicals. You have to buy these and attach the bottle to your water softener. This can work really well but can require some monitoring. You might also need some space to store these bottles.
You can also get systems that use electricity. The great thing about these is that you don’t have to adjust your pipes and they can be installed on horizontal and vertical pipes. These systems have improved a lot over the past few years.
The great thing about these systems is that they can remove the existing calcium. If your pipes are affected, they can remove them over time. This can improve the water pressure and flow.
Local water conditioning systems
Some water softeners only work for one faucet. These take up some space under the sink so they can’t be installed everywhere. These models are cheaper and often work quite well.
Some people use showerheads that filter for calcium. Don’t expect miracles from them though but they can help somewhat.
To conclude, we have suggested some ways to soften your hard water. This is commonly done with a water softener that removes the calk from the water. This is great for your pipes and appliances as calcium can build up and make them look dirty and dull. It can also keep your water heater working longer and pipes clean.
For these reasons, it can be a great investment as calcium can create a lot of damage. It is always a great idea to test your water from time to time to see if it contains too much calcium or other elements so that you can fix this. These elements can affect your water heater, pipes, and appliances.